Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Kiss #20

GENRE: YA Contemporary

Background: Ava and Oliver, who had nothing in common but Oliver's girlfriend Malia, have slowly fallen in love over the summer. It's all kinds of wrong yet they also understand each other like no one else ever has. This kiss is the moment everything seems like it could be okay (of course it isn't).

"You have other friends?" he jokes.

I play-punch his arm even though I kinda-sorta don't. Sure, people like me. They think I'm fun. I cut class and drink and jump in pools in my bra and underwear. I'm entertainment.

"Does she know?" The question is gentle, like the way he touches a flower. Just enough so that I know he's asking about Mike. Or JT. Or both.

I shake my head. "No. Just you."

Then I close my eyes because it hurts too much that my only friend doesn't really know me and because I don't deserve friends anyways but most of all because Oliver is so close and I can't have him.

My eyes fly open when I feel his lips on mine.

His eyes are open too and we stare at each other, lips barely parted, breath paused.

Then our eyes snap shut and his arms wrap around me and oh, we're kissing.

I've kissed a dozen boys a dozen times but this kiss, this kiss is completely different. This is not about control or games. I'm helpless under this kiss, unable to do anything but part my lips and breath him in as the pieces of me I've kept under tight lock spill out all around us. His kiss is hesitant at first but as I melt into him the intensity turns up, until he presses into me so hard we tumble off the log. We land in the dirt and our kiss doesn't break.

The sun warms me and his body is heavy on mine and he smells like bar soap and laundry sheets and dry earth.

He tastes like strawberry jam.


  1. Ava's playful narrative voice hooked me right away. The way you've set up the kiss is very strong.

    However, the structure of this sentence bothers me:

    "Then I close my eyes because it hurts too much that my only friend doesn't really know me and because I don't deserve friends anyways but most of all because Oliver is so close and I can't have him."

    I get the impression that it is supposed to be internal monologue of sorts, but it's still a run-on sentence and reads awkwardly because of that. If you tighten it up a little and add a comma before "but" I think you'll have an even stronger lead in to the kiss.

    Also, props for including smell and taste! Those things are so important during moments of physical intimacy.

  2. I really, really enjoyed the kiss. First her shock that it's happening, then her surrender to it, and the way that she breathes him in. I will say that some of her internal dialogue, before that, is very run-on and confusing.

  3. Unfortunantly, I don't have any constructive feedback except to say that the voice is very strong, and I am totally hooked and want to know more about them!

  4. Yes, yes, yes, really liked this.
    The voice is fab, completely believable and also the action between them.
    The description of herself particularly resonated with me, (but maybe that is a reflection on myself!)

    I agree with spazfilly above about the run-on sentence, but the elements are sound in themselves, so don't lose them.

    I'd want to read more.

  5. Oh, I like this so much. There's a few parts that run together that could benefit from a few commas, but the sweetness of the moment is there.

    "Then I close my eyes because it hurts too much that my only friend doesn't really know me and because I don't deserve friends anyways but most of all because Oliver is so close and I can't have him." I can almost taste the desperation here; it's so relatable--but add the commas or break it up so it doesn't run together and get lose.
    And the closing line is just the cherry on the whipped cream for the sweet factor.

    Also, beware of reciprocal references. "I play-punch his arm even though I kinda-sorta don't" reads like she doesn't play punch him instead of meaning that she doesn't have friends, which is what you intend.

    Overall, great job. I'd want to read more.

  6. I love the smell and the taste references at the end. Just a few simple words explain so much to the reader. I also love the MC's voice. This sounds like a fun read and I was sad to only get to view a small part of it.

  7. Strong voice, and I actually really like the run-ons, if you can clean it up just a little for clarity. I get that you are trying to contrast how "this kiss" differs from previous experiences, but you use the word "kiss" many times in that paragraph. The action speaks for itself.

    I really like the voice, though. Young, realistic, fresh.

  8. GREAT!!! The only thing that threw me was it felt pretty abrupt when suddenly she mentions his lips were on her. I mean, I know she's surprised but *I* was surprised as a reader. I don't think you're going for that. Show me her surprise, don't actually leave me confused.

    Otherwise, loved loved it!

  9. Really nice. My heart ached for the protagonist; her loneliness and low self-esteem are so evident from just a few sentences.

    Yeah, a few commas might help, but I don't mind the run-on sentences. They're appropriate for a teenage narrator.

    The one tiny criticism I have is with the phrase "as I melt into him the intensity turns up." I think you could show that intensity in more physical terms.

  10. I like the voice here; this phrase felt more adult than YA: His kiss is hesitant at first but as I melt into him the intensity turns up...
    I think it's "as I melt into him" combined with "intensity turns up".
    Maybe keeping the manic, run-on flavor would work here: I'm melting and it's intense and then he presses into me so we tumble off the log. Or you could work in some her feelings in there, keeping that voice.

  11. Great job. I agree with a few of the tweaks that have been mentioned. I was also a little confused by the dialogue and the mention of 2 other boys, but I assume that's explained in previous pages and would be clear to a reader. But most important, you made me want him to kiss her as much as she wanted it. Bravo.

  12. Thank you so, so much everyone. This feedback is super helpful and I know what changes I am going to make (the unanimous ones, obviously, haha). Y'all made a girl's night! Thank you thank you!

  13. Great voice. I like the playful style.

    Tumble off the log makes my think they were standing and fell landing on something other than their feet. So I had a hard time believing the kiss didn't break. Stumble maybe I could see.

  14. Great voice! Love her personality. Good sensory details. I would read more. I don't mind the run-on sentence b/c I know it's her jumbled thoughts, but maybe put a comma before "but most of all..." Need an E on "and breathe him in..." Also "turns up" doesn't seem strong enough. Maybe "ramps up" or something else. All in all, a great excerpt!

  15. GREAT voice! Totally had me wondering why 'she' would need to know (from the introduction I thought the main character was asking him, I'm sure it's clearer when not plucked out of the story).

    Sorry I don't have anything useful to add.

  16. Really love the visual of them both with their eyes open. I found myself wanting them to linger in that moment a bit longer.